Comic Relief 2019: MP Lammy speaks out after donations drop

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Getty Images/PA

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David Lammy MP criticised Comic Relief for sending Stacey Dooley to Africa

MP David Lammy has tweeted a response to a call for him to apologise after an £8m drop in donations to Comic Relief.

The Labour MP previously criticised the charity appeal for sending documentary maker Stacey Dooley to film in Africa, saying “the world does not need any more white saviours”.

Donations on the night fell to £63m, compared to £71.8 million in 2017.

Conservative MP Chris Philp blamed Mr Lammy for the drop but the Tottenham MP jokingly brushed aside the criticism.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, also took a swipe at Mr Lammy.

But others on social media responding to Mr Lammy’s tweet clearly thought that linking the MP’s comments to the fall in donations was oversimplifying the issue.

In February, Lammy criticised Comic Relief for sending the Strictly Come Dancing winner Stacey Dooley to make an appeal film in Africa, saying it created a “distorted image of Africa which perpetuates an old idea from the colonial era”.

But Comic Relief said: “We are really grateful that Stacey Dooley, an award-winning and internationally acclaimed documentary-maker, agreed to go to Uganda to discover more about projects the British people have funded there and make no apologies for this.”

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A host of stars presented this year’s Comic Relief

In recent years the BBC’s bi-annual Red Nose Day telethon has seen a drop in both donations and ratings.

This year 5.6 million people tuned in to watch the star-studded telethon, which featured sketches based on BBC One’s Bodyguard and a mini-sequel to romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral.

The show lost 600,000 viewers compared with the previous event in 2017, when an average of 6.2 million switched on.

The total of £63m raised on the night is not the final total achieved for this year’s campaign, as not all pledges have been received yet.

Comic Relief has raised more than £1bn since the charity was founded 30 years ago, with more than £78m raised by the end of the 2015 live show.

But on the night donations dropped in 2017 to £71.8m. That fall was blamed on austerity by some commentators.

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